Pompeo discusses USA drawdown in Syria with Turkish counterpart


In December 2018, Trump declared victory over Daesh additionally claiming that he would withdraw some 2,000 United States troops now deployed in the war-torn Middle Eastern nation.

"Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds", Trump wrote in a Tweet late on Sunday, without elaborating.

"We also know that those fighting alongside us for all this time deserve to be protected as well", he added. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

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After media reports suggesting the departure of U.S. forces had begun, the Pentagon later said no troops had yet withdrawn and stressed that the battle against ISIS was continuing as US-backed forces try to capture the group's last remaining pockets of territory in Syria.

However, Bolton later said that the U.S.' withdrawal would be subject to defeating Daesh remnants, and Turkey assuring the safety of fighters allied with the US, i.e. the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the YPG.

Ankara has repeatedly told Washington that the YPG is not different from the PKK as the groups were intertwined, and partnering with one terrorist group to fight another was not acceptable.

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U.S. national security adviser John Bolton suggested on Tuesday that protecting Washington's Kurdish allies would be a precondition of the USA withdrawal. That drew a rebuke from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan who called his comments "a serious mistake".

Donald Trump has warned Turkey of economic devastation if it attacks Kurdish forces in the wake of the U.S. troop pullout from Syria, while also urging the Kurds not to "provoke" Ankara.

His top diplomat Mike Pompeo is on a whirlwind regional tour aimed at reassuring Washington's Kurdish allies in the fight against Isis.

The bilateral relations have been further aggravated by U.S. threats to halt the transfer of military tech to its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, including the fifth generation F-35 stealth fighter jets, and even to impose sanctions over Turkey's commitment to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems, a diversification of weapons suppliers that enhances its national security.

"We recognize the Turkish people's right and President Erdogan's to defend their country from terrorists", Pompeo said Saturday, according to NPR's Michele Kelemen, who is traveling with the secretary.

She also said the territory previously controlled by the United States should be transferred to the Syrian regime.

Turkey has criticized the US working with the terrorist PKK/PYD to fight Daesh, saying that using one terror group to fight another makes no sense.